Garlic Has Major Health Benefits, Like Warding Off Acne, Grey Hair, Cold Sores, and Vampires

My garlic obsession started at an early age when I began dressing up my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in high school. In college, I learned to make eggs for the first time and quickly began dressing up my scrambled tofu mix with garlic powder. Eventually my palate matured and I was using a few cloves in my curry dishes, several cloves in my spicy red sauce and casually throwing entire heads of garlic in elaborate pasta salads. I'm proud of my cooking skills, thank you very much. It wasn't until I stumbled upon garlic as a natural cure for yeast infections, which grow more common in the humid months, that I realized the spice could do way more than add flavor to my veggie dishes.

Garlic has some serious anti-fungal and anti-viral elements, plus incredibly high antioxidant properties. This makes it a major player in the game of infection fighting for your body, inside and out. Garlic has salicylic acid which enhances blood flow and circulation, it is a natural anti-inflammatory that can bring down swelling of blemishes. Garlic is also rich in vitamins C which is a powerful way to boost collagen and protect against hair breakage. It has levels of sulfur which is the structural compound of the keratin protein used in many salons to treat damaged hair.

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Extracting oil from garlic cloves is super easy: Peel back the skin on the cloves, keeping the cloves whole and dry, and then heat them with your fave carrier oil (reminder: grape seed oil does not like to be heated) for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the cloves and allow your oil to cool before use.

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Ladies & gents, you must look past garlic's potent scent to reap all of the amazing benefits of applying topically on your skin and hair — trust me, you will not regret it. These are just a few ways garlic can save you from common beauty woes...and that annoyingly relentless vampire that keeps showing up at all hours.

Acne Treatment (Moderate to Severe)

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I've recommended garlic to some of my beauties that are plagued with serious adult acne woes and they can't get enough of it. Use homemade garlic oil or smash up a few garlic pods with a mallet and combine with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. This will be a strong acne medication, so if you're looking for a less intense treatment, cut it with a few drops of your carrier oil of choice before massaging into your skin for 2 minutes. The ACV will regulate your pH levels, keeping a balanced pH is a major component to having healthy clear skin. Repeat this treatment daily for best results.

Avoid Grey Hair

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This remedy is the biz; use coconut oil when heating your garlic (heating will make sure it's not too strong for our delicate skin) and add fresh ground black pepper as it heats. You should only need about 3-5 cloves for this recipe, once it cools apply this treatment on wet hair as a mask. Keep on for about 20 minutes and then rinse well before proceeding with your regular hair routine. If you are prone to the occasional grays poppin' up in your locks, this is def going to be a weekly treat for your hair, since the copper in garlic is thought to keep grays at bay.

Cold Sore Remedy

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I've so many friends plagued by cold sores; their outbreaks are typically brought on by a compromised immune system (common cold) or stress. And what's more stressful than job hunting while you're plagued with a painful cold sore right on the lips?! Total beauty catch 22! Luckily, garlic is antiviral and cold sores are caused by an existing Herpes 1 virus that causes those embarrassing outbreaks. According to Live Strong's website, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, raw garlic has shown significant results in treating cold sores when applied topically. For this remedy, you are going to extract the oil by mashing about 3 raw garlic cloves and apply directly on the infected area. Repeat this a few times daily until you're cold sore free!

Keeping Vampires Away

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Showing up to work with puffy eyes because you have a rude vampire keeping you up at night? If you are so over nightly visits from the undead, place a garlic clove under your pillow and rest assured you will ward him/her off in your sleep. Personally, I'm not kicking a sexy vampire out of my bed for any reason, but this is also a great way to ward off nightmares...which is more likely to be what's happening.

Images: Pixabay (1, 2, 3, 4); Fotolia (1, 2, 3)